Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The 'natural world?' What?

Are we becomming more disconnected from the natural world? Yes, suggests the Wall Street Journal's Juggle blog today.

This isn't a question of urban and suburban life. Technology is playing a role as well. Remember the summers spent outdoors? They've been replaced by Wiis and television. Our evenings are spent attached to American Idol, to our iPods, to our A/C.

It's little wonder that national park attendance has been declining over the last several years. People are ceasing to see the simple value of the outdoors.

When we moved, we made the conscious decision to select a neighborhood to close proximity to a large park and walking trails. My toddler whines about not weeding our garden or hula-hooping in our backyard. And any family celebration is cause to eschew a restaraunt in favor of a party in the local park.

Years ago, in my reporter life, I wrote about how the Shawnee Mission School District in Johnson County, Kansas, created nature preserves that were so well-received and provided an educational boost for the students. Taking a similar approach, even on a smaller level, could make such a difference in our children's understanding and acceptance of taking care of our environment.

It's easy to get back in touch with the "natural world," and so essential in helping our children develop a true sense of what life is about. Technology is great, but it doesn't beat a summer breeze.

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